Developing Your Child’s Intellect

Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard, believes there are more types of intelligence than just “book smarts.” Here are the eight types he suggests exist.

  • Linguistic: thinks in words
  • Musical: thinks through rhythm, tone, melody
  • Logical-mathematical: thinks in patterns, abstract reasoning
  • Naturalistic: relates to the natural world
  • Spatial-visual: thinks visually, relates to charts, maps, images
  • Bodily-kinesthetic: learns through movement, touch, hands-on experience
  • Intrapersonal: thinks internally and works best alone at own pace
  • Interpersonal: thinks through interaction with others

Each of us may be stronger in one area than in another. And maybe we are strong in a few areas. Our children also may have strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others. The public school system tends to be formulated around performance in just a few of these intelligences. Mainly linguistic and logical-mathematical. Not every child will excel in these two areas or even in both. As a mom of a preschooler, your child has not yet come into direct contact with the school systems measurement of intelligence. One of your biggest jobs as a parent in the next 13 plus years is to help your child find success when they attend school. Here are a couple of suggested ways to help your child succeed with whatever types of intelligence they have. (See “How your child is smart.” By Dawna Markova (Conari Press, 1992)

  • Linguistic children often learn more easily by reading about a subject. So, writing out the steps to solve problems may help these kids with math.
  • The logical-mathematical child can often learn to spell better if shown the patterns of letters and root words inside larger words.
  • Capitalize on spatial-visual strengths by helping your child create charts, graphs and symbols to represent the things he is trying to learn.
  • The child whose strengths are intrapersonal may need a quiet place to do homework or study. Help her find a spot that suits her, where she can have some privacy.
  • The interpersonal child may prefer to work close to you and to share what he is doing, or may want to discuss projects with other classmates.
  • Help your child identify his own strengths and ways of being smart, and let him know that all styles of intelligence are valuable.

How Your Child is Smart, by Dawna Markova, Conari Press, 1962.
Frames of Mind: A Theory of Multiple Intelligences, by Howard Garner, Basic Books, 1963